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- Paying for College
Tips For Saving Money on Textbooks
College can be a very expensive proposition. When you finally pay the high cost of tuition you have to turn around and buy textbooks. Unfortunately textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars - every single semester. Fortunately for you there are plenty of ways to save on textbooks.
- Wait to buy. Unless you have a solid list of what you need for each class before class starts, you should wait. You do not want to buy any more than you have to or the wrong thing.
- Don't buy it on campus if you can avoid it. Every school I have ever been to has an on-campus book store and an off-campus book store. Guess which one is almost always cheaper? The farther away from the college you get the less money it will cost you.
- Purchase used books whenever possible. This can save you 50% or more on the cost of textbooks each semester.
- Take very good care of your books. Don't write in them, don't turn down pages, don't bend the spine back, and certainly don't spill anything on it. If you can take care of your books, chances are good you can turn around and resell them for the price you paid at the beginning of the semester. This will keep your out of pocket costs to a minimum over the course of four years of college.
- Order books online. If you know what you need ahead of time you can shop around for the best price. Check Amazon, EBay, Half.com, etc. for a large savings. I know someone that did this recently and saved 50% off what those books would have cost at the book store. If you are following tip #1 though, you might not be able to wait for shipping if you don't purchase your books in advance. Keep this in mind when shopping.
- Swap with a friend. Thinking back to my freshman year of college pretty much everyone in my dorm took calculus, geography and biology. We could have easily swapped books between semesters and split the cost in half. You could also try sharing with a friend during the same semester.
- Borrow from the library if you don't need the book for very long. This is especially good for literature classes that read many novels. All of those books can add up to a lot of money. Put your library to use and you won't have to spend a dime.
- See if you can get the book you need through an E-reader. Typically an e-book is significantly cheaper than a textbook and it is much easier to carry around too.
- Use a cash back site to shop, such as Ebates. This way you can get some of your money back in the end.
- The flip side of tip #1 is to buy early. I am hesitant to recommend this, but if you know for absolute certainly exactly what you need, then buying early, or during the "off-season" will help you save money.